Can dementia creep in, then get worse within a short span of time?

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My Mom has been in an ALF (a new one) for 6 weeks now. She has Alzheimer's/Dementia. Over the past few days, she's showing signs of increased dementia. Woke up the other morning and honestly did not know where she was, no conception of time and does not remember anything from one day to the next. Does dementia creep in and then get worse within a short span of time? Should we prepare ourselves for the worse??


Thanks....

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The change in location could be part of it, which does not mean this was a bad choice. Sometimes changes are necessary. However, people with dementia don't generally cope well with change.
Sometimes change can make things worse for awhile, and sometimes they never return to the place they were before the change (this is particularly frequent with hospitalizations and surgery).
Since she's worsened in the past few days, and the change is six weeks old, however, the change may not be part of the equation at all. She just may be at a turning point with her AD. I'd contact her physician and see if there's anything that can be done to help her. In the end, you may be seeing a new, deeper phase of the disease and you'll have to learn to cope with these new behaviors.
Take care of yourself, too,
Carol
I would also check for a urinary tract infection? They are quite common in the elderly and can cause confusion.
Carol is right about change. it comes down to any kind of stressor can make it appear worse and then there may be a period of improvement when that stressor is 'digested'.
My mom went through a major stressor a little over a year before she died and I popped her into my bed and we watched tv together. When she slept it was in a fetal position and I too thought that this was it. She rallied and we went on for a few more adventures after that so don't lose heart!
Stay here with us and write out how you feel. That will do wonders for how you cope. We're here.
lovbob
You might also ask your mom's doctor if he thinks she is getting enough oxygen. We discovered that my mom needed oxygen after treating her for Alzheimer's Disease. I wish I had asked about oxygen a long time ago. My mom would seem to get better and then would seem to be a different person, sleeping more, confused, hearing voices and sleeping all curled up. Now at the very end of her life, oxygen has given her more alert time with her family.
Because she's in a relatively new environment you might be seeing the changes because it may be harder for her to adapt. All ALF's are not the same and some are more inclusive than others. Maybe in the other the staff did more for her and helped her get involved. Did/does she go to activities and who does she eat meals with? The new ALF may have a different layout that makes it harder for her to get to activities etc. I'd speak to the director first and see what advice they have. I'd also check to see that her meds are being given properly (and make sure that they are the right meds). Next step would be to take her to the doctor- she could have an infection that needs to be treated. Sometimes a "sudden decline" is just that, a sudden decline that would have happened no matter where she is. Sudden declines can and do happen over the coarse of this disorder.
My mom moved out of state to an ALF from living alone for almost 30 years..........Her dementia seemed to increase rapidly as did her anger and depression. She is now there almost 9 months and seems almost adjusted ..........however, her dementia has not improved but remained the same-----Change is hard for everyone and we each handle it differently and then combine the other problems of the elderly and it is a wonder they handle it at any level at all
I'd ask for help from the ALF and the aids---they certainly have more experience with these things than we do-------Hang in there and know that you are doing the best you can for her
This question should be directed towards her Neurologist ( a good one). Check: Vital Signs, Check: PULSE OX Check: Blood work.
Has anyone used Exalon with any success for mild to moderate Alzheimers? Is there any drug that is better than the others or any natural remedies that anyone has found to be successful.
Karen: I'm not familiar with the drug known as Exalon. You can check it in your P.D.R. Drug Reference Book. They'll mention the stats on usage.
I second the motion about UTIs. It's the first thing we check when Mother's behavior changes for the worse. She is on Nitrofurantoin DAILY, which is an anti biotic to PREVENT UTIs. Adjusting medications, getting enough exercise during the day, and getting good sleep seem to be major factors here. All the Best to you both.

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